Any kind of mass entertainment runs the risk of offending someone, and cartoons are no exception. NIcktoons has been in hot water quite a few times for pushing the envelope a little too far or for unintended offenses. Spongebob Squarepants actually has three entries in this list of ten controversies. One is altogether inexplicable.
A particularly topical episode called “You’re Fired, SpongeBob!” thrust the absorbent fry-cook into the center of yet another politicized media controversy last November. Laid off from his job by Mister Krabs’ discovery that he could save “one whole nickel” by letting him go, SpongeBob briefly entertains a beggarly lifestyle before telling Patrick the starfish, “Unemployment may be fun for you, but I need to get a job.” This innocuous-sounding remark managed to trigger passionate responses from an array of pundits throughout the mainstream media, though Nickelodeon itself has refused to issue an official statement on the matter.
Other Spongebob episodes were accused of siding with science on climate change and promoting homosexuality. Other series from Nickelodeon have had their moments, too, and some episodes were edited or pulled. Read about them all in the list at mental_floss.